Have you ever wondered what lobsters can teach us about stress? Yeah, me either. Still – curious as I am – I couldn’t ignore this video. Rabbi dr. Abraham Twerski explains why we should deal with stress more like lobsters do.
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The lobster is a soft, mushy animal that lives in a rigid shell. When the lobster grows, it’s shell becomes smaller and smaller – it doesn’t grow with the lobster. Obviously a tiny shell isn’t ideal: I bet the lobster feels pretty uncomfortable and caged in. But that’s exactly the moment that something remarkable happens.
Namely, this: the stressed lobster hides under a rock – out of sight of hungry fish – shakes off it’s shell and produces a new one. A nice, comfy and spacious shell which will allow him to keep going for a while… Until he goes crazy on the unlimited buffet of small shellfish and this shell also becomes too small, which is when the entire process repeats itself.
Imagine if lobsters had doctors. The two would probably cook up a plan to lessen the lobster’s stressed feeling. Which, in all fairness, would help for a little while but in essence is suppressing the lobster’s nature; the instinct to grow and become bigger.
What we can learn here, according to the rabbi, is that the stimulus that causes the lobster to grow, makes him feel uncomfortable at first! When we look at setbacks and stress in this way, we can more often learn from what happens and outgrow ourselves in stressful situations.
So ask yourself, next time you are stressed: what would the lobster do? In what way can you outgrow the situation you’re in? Are you ready for a bigger shell? Fat chance your nature is designed to do exactly the same as the lobster’s: grow.
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